Casey constable keeps promise to 'visit' schools

August 17, 2004|BRENDA S. EDWARDS

LIBERTY - Constable Steve Cochran was at Casey County High School Monday, but only as a visitor.

Cochran told the county Board of Education Aug. 9 that he would be at the high school and middle school in full uniform and in an official capacity to look into the illegal drug problems. Cochran indicated that he would be there if a school resource officer had not been hired to patrol the schools.

Principal Tim Goodlett said Cochran came to the high school as a visitor, rather than a police officer.

"We discussed different issues that he and the school are interested in concerning the students," Goodlett said.

"Our concerns are on the same page. He did not create any disturbance nor did he want to disrupt the daily routine. He followed the visitors' procedures and signed in," said Goodlett.

"He is truly interested in the kids and their well being," said Goodlett.


After Cochran's promise to be at the school, he talked with Superintendent Linda Hatter later in the week.

"I talked with him about his concerns and told him he's welcome to come to school on a visitor's status," said Hatter, adding the school can't open up the doors to anything that may cause legal concerns.

Cochran said he will take the offer to walk around the school with either the principal or assistant principal and have lunch in the school cafeteria occasionally. However, he said the attorney general's office says he has the authority to go the school as an officer if he suspects drug activity.

The constable said he learned the city hired local resident Rex Rader as the school resource officer last week. He said Rader has been preparing for the classes but would not begin until later this fall.

"I thought they'd hired him three months ago," said Cochran. The school board agreed more than a year ago to hire a resource officer for the middle school and high school, and Cochran said he does not understand why someone has not been hired before now. He thinks the officer should have already been trained and ready for the fall semester.

He was surprised to learn the Board of Education did not know the officer had not been hired. Board Superintendent Linda Hatter indicated last week that the officer was in training.

Cochran said many nearby schools have law enforcement officers patrolling the facilities, and he does not see why Casey County does not already have one.

"I think we need a cop in both schools," Cochran said. "We need to bring a dog to school and check the lockers and the kids. I wanted to bring a drug dog in about every two weeks and make a sweep down the halls," he said.

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